Updated: July 11, 2020 10:36 AM
Created: July 10, 2020 04:00 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- More than 150,000 New Mexico are receiving unemployment benefits, and there's a possibility that the number will rise following the governor's announcement to prohibit indoor dining at restaurants and breweries.
"Unfortunately, with the virus being spread that has effected the way that businesses can open up and once again," said Bill McCamley, secretary of Department of Workforce Solutions. "And I hate to be a broken record on this, but we're not going to be able to open businesses back up to the full extent we need to do to get people back to work if we don't wear our masks."
McCamley said the state will hold off on changes that would have required those on unemployment to provide proof they are searching for work in order to continue receiving benefits.
"Get the virus under control first, then we can start talking about these other things and unfortunately with the spike we've seen recently its made up re-evaluate some of the things we were looking at doing," McCamley said.
McCamley recognizes that the fund supplying unemployment benefits will be impacted. In an effort to protect the fund, the state has asked the federal government for a loan in August.
Local lawmakers may also have to address the fund.
"If it's a small amount, there's a chance we wouldn't have to change any policies moving forward, if it becomes bigger, because people aren't wearing their masks, they aren't socially distancing and we can't start opening businesses up, then we have to start having those conversations," McCamley said.
In the meantime, the department is bringing in more people to answer phones.
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